Creative expression has taken a new turn in the last few years with the increasing role of social media platforms like Instagram. We now have more access to each other’s lives and can curate our online platforms heavily to attract like minded followers and potential collaborators. An industry particularly feeling this change is the fashion industry.
Designers now have access to interesting and “everyday people” to use as models instead of just those who have been selected and represented by agencies based on commercial standards. Because of that we are seeing more faces at the forefront of fashion that celebrate individuality and uniqueness instead of the conventional.
Diversity in fashion isn’t a new thing—but it’s also not common . Many “unconventional” models (Paloma Essler, Barbie Knox etc) have been working overseas for a while, particularly in the US. And although the industries over there are far from being perfectly diverse they are able to represent all genders, skin tones, and bodies types, much more successfully than here.
In Melbourne and Sydney the emergence of street cast agencies like The Uncast and Folk Collective has contributed to this progression positively. In particular through their work with independent labels who are better known for working with diverse models.
Sydney based model Amber Prado-Richardson and Melbourne based models Jarman Cutrona and Mary Grigoris have experienced this first hand. Together we discussed what it means to be a model today (agency represented or not) and whether we’re seeing diverse faces as a tokenising trend or a product of a genuine change.